Wordfence cannot delete files on Windows Server IIS

I’ve been running Wordfence on a number of wordpress sites I run on a windows server. Yes, you can run wordpress/php/mysql on windows. No, it’s not a great idea though. I’ve run into numerous issues with this setup and regret doing it, but it’s also been interesting to see the varying levels of support for running this configuration.

Wordfence will scan for infected files on my windows installs, and will find and list them- but when I try to delete the infected files, it always shows an error dialog stating “An invalid file was requested for deletion.” I initially thought this was a permissions issue, but after ruling this out I asked online about this error. I was surprised to not find a lot of others having the same issue, just a few. And the support forums didn’t do much to help either. I finally noticed that Wordfence lists all the officially supported operating systems, and Windows is *not* on that list. Woops.

Since php is not compiled, I decided to spend 10 minutes and see if I could find the source of this issue- and sure enough, I found that Wordfence was calculating a path incorrectly such that it was getting confused by the backslashes in windows file system. It seems to handle this fine in almost every area, but this one line was comparing two paths, and one had a forward slash where the other had a backslash- making them unequal and thus the “An invalid file was requested for deletion” is triggered.

I was able to hack the code a little to fix this, and now I have my windows wordpress wordfence working and deleting the files I request it to. You can update it yourself as well if you need this- find the file wp-content\plugins\wordfence\lib\wordfenceClass.php and update the following portion with these modifications, starting at line 4987:

$file = $issue['data']['file'];
$localFile = realpath($localFile);
$localPath = realpath(ABSPATH) . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR;
if(strpos($localFile, $localPath) !== 0){
	return array('errorMsg' => __('An invalid file was requested for deletion.', 'wordfence'));

Note that I’m sure Wordfence is not a fan of having their php files edited, so this is fully unsupported and any updates to the plugin will likely overwrite this file and “break” it again.

Wordfence, feel free to implement this fix. Y’all are really close to working on a whole other operating system 🙂

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